Creative Printing Sales Prospecting Ideas

I was on a conference call recently and someone asked the question, “Does anyone have any creative ideas for getting in to see someone who is consistently ignoring my voice mails?”

[Insert sound of crickets chirping.]

Whatever happened to creativity? Do we need to Google it to remember what it was? Are we so conditioned to play the voice-mail game now that the door toward new business is locked and we have forgotten how to beat the system using a little sales ingenuity?

I remember hearing from one customer who told me that he puts a $1 lottery ticket in a letter to a prospect after having called him or her five times. Along with it went this note:

“As you may have noticed, I’ve been trying to get you on the phone. Here is a lottery ticket in the hopes that the next time I call you it will be my lucky day!”


Similar to that was the client who sent a $5 Starbucks gift card along with a note that said:

“Please enjoy a cup of coffee on me while you wait for my next phone call.”

The best one that I’ve heard in a while came over lunch recently. A veteran salesman told me that he sent out a disposable cell phone with his number preprogrammed on it. All the customer had to do was hit “Send” and connection would be made.

The rep sent the phone via Federal Express at a total cost of $25 (Walmart sells disposable phones for under $10!). You clearly wouldn’t send this packet to everyone, but how could someone resist that kind of creative thinking. And isn’t it worth $25 to get that hard-to-reach prospect on the phone?

Surely, you must have a creative sales idea of your own. Let’s hear it!

As a 30 year sales veteran, Bill has the perspective of a been-there, done-that sales rep in the commercial print arena. Following sales fundamentals and giving unapologetically "old school" advice, he writes and speaks in an entertaining fashion to make his points to sales people and owners who sell. "Bill Farquharson will drive your sales momentum."
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  • Pau Esteve

    Hi Bill
    I love creativity!
    Can I tell you a story…
    A friend of mine, trying to get a meeting with a CEO…
    He sent a messenger pigeon by curier with the message similar to this: If you’d like to have a meeting with me…… open the window and let the pigeon fly. If not, call back the curier and we’ll pick it up. When the pigeon got back home, the owner called my friend with the ID, so he could call the YES customer and set a meeting.
    Wierd but creative.

  • Don_AndersenUSP

    Bill, take the first step to being creative by not leaving a voicemail at all. Now they know you’re a sales person and have pre-judged your services before you ever had the chance to peak their interest. I tracked meeting conversions from voicemail messages and it was despicable. What’s the definition of insanity again? Get them on the phone. If they don’t answer, hang up and try again some other time. If they never answer have "accounts receivable" transfer internally. Most importantly, if you don’t have something of value to talk about, you shouldn’t be calling in the first place.

    Happy Hunting!